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Pedro Piovan

March 12, 2021


It's a question I ask myself every day. Much is gained by entering the digital model, and much is lost. I'll list some more questions I ask myself, after the first one in the title:

  • What can't be digital?

  • What are the risks involving human interaction only in the digital environment?

  • What are we missing when we go digital?

  • And who can't “go digital”?

  • Does the digital include or exclude?

  • Are we losing sight of the limits of the digital age?

  • Are we making human interactions just algorithmic?


I have so many others, but I'll stop here. I confess that, even though I work with innovation and I am from a generation that was born looking at Windows 95 and hearing the noise of the dial-up network to connect, I have many reticences to enter 100% into the digital world; I go further: I do not see that it is healthy, in the structure of digital models we have today, not to have barriers between analog and digital.

My intention with this Pico is to be a little more pessimistic than the previous Pico and of course, before trying to be conclusive, I will be provocative with the questions we still have to answer before I feel comfortable accepting that my analog and digital life is a only.

Let's start with the first point, and perhaps one of the most critical:

Can nature and digital be symbiotic?

For many of my generation and those coming forward, there is no way to separate the digital world from the physical world. I can understand this reasoning: “world” is an interpretation of the Planet. When we look at what is externalized on the Planet and interpret all these contents based on our criteria, biases, thoughts and culture, we create a worldview. This is why there are several possible worlds.  

There are people who look at the social network environment and form an enabling, hyperconnected worldview, who see all the benefits of having a single social network in their world, to the point of even seeing it as the solution for the inclusion of people without access to information. Take, for example, the Facebook project, , which understands how it is possible to connect the whole world.  

And of course, there are also people who look at the social network environment and form a critical worldview, I understand that in fact all the value promises involved in its creation were not fulfilled (I am part of this group, by chance).

There are several ways to interpret, form intentions and worldviews from what happens on the planet. And here comes my argument: many of these worldviews can only exist if we assume that the planet is not considered.

I'll take an example for this: a view of the world that was very widespread in the military dictatorship, especially in the 1970s, was that the Amazon was something to be overcome, as it was an impediment to progress; instead of biodiversity, it would be worth the continuous exploitation of natural resources until depletion; instead of respecting the original peoples, it would be worth raising cattle on their land.  

This is a great example of how a worldview can only exist with the exclusion of the planet. Can you see the problem?  

From the moment the world excludes the planet, the creation of the world itself is unfeasible; it remains a parallel reality, dissociated from reality and, in the extreme, hallucinated (unfortunately we live this today). Once this becomes material, the process is destructive - the plan is to destroy the planet, and with it, we go.

No wonder big billionaires are planning life off-planet - their worldviews have already destroyed the planet enough that no more life is possible. Is this synonymous with progress? Make your reflection.


Now let's get to the heart of my question here: the digital world is digital, the planet is not; is this digital world killing the planet?

Let's get to some facts: since the digital world came into vogue and became the new place, anxiety, depression, exclusion and class stratification became more and more evident. Let's not kid ourselves: cloud isn't in the cloud at all; it is a data center in some underdeveloped country possibly causing noise, visual pollution and underemployment.  

Does the digital worldview support the planet? I see few people debating this. It seems to me that the digital world has already “overtaken” the planet and now we're going to focus on making progress in digital; but what about the planet?

The escalation of deforestation, ocean pollution, global warming, among other concerns, should be discussed in the digital world. How can we make the digital world a powerful cog to try to reverse this kind of impact, rather than distracting?

And here we go to my next argument.



Does the digital world argue about what matters?

Unfortunately I don't think so. Discussions in the digital world are oriented towards the scale of leads, likes, maintenance of the ego and mainly: maintenance and improvement (!) of the image of actors and actors who destroy the planet.  

While the digital mechanism could be used exactly as a focus mechanism, it is used as a distraction mechanism. We are very distracted by the stories, the post, Reels, when in fact we could be much more focused on making this environment a place for debate, exchange, strength and power to actually reverse our negative impact on the planet.

If we want so much to make the digital world merge with the planet, we need to show that digital is a mechanism that strengthens the planet, and not the other way around.  

Of course, we need to make a very clear assumption: not everyone is digital. 

Which brings me to my next tease.

Does the digital world argue about what matters?




List some aspects that we missed:


The smooth (digital) experience made us less empathetic


Here I rescue a concept from Byung, in his book A Salvação do Belo. The digital experience is usually smooth, frictionless, without upsetting anyone, just offering what our children's egos “wish” to access.

Any friction generated, we seek exclusion, cancellation, etc. This type of interaction made us lose the ability to debate, listen to opposing points and argue; it became very easy to have extremely superficial and less empathetic relationships.

The more a digital experience is smooth, the more superficial and fast it becomes; we lost the ability to hear someone talking for 30 minutes straight.  

We exclude key people from the debate

The people who suffer most from the damage we propose to the planet with our vision of the digital world are not in the digital, and if we want digital to be our new environment, we exclude the most essential people from the debate. This is serious.

Once again we return to the place where the answers to the planet's problems come from people who are not really involved with it, and worse: they push down the throats of those who suffer.  

We lost the ability to have epiphanies, in a conditional world

The digital world has been conditionally configured - if this then that. Unfortunately, it wasn't this kind of thinking that managed to originate the greatest innovations in the world (which even seek to save us from these destructive worldviews).  


Creativity is not conditional, on the contrary; it is a constant game in the void plus the generation of repertoire with random combinations that clash with possibilities for the future.  



In a 100% conditional world, which is digital, we lose the ability to imagine the future and make it happen.


we lost the sense of difference

Going to a restaurant is different from ordering delivery; a bar is different from a videoconference; a face-to-face workshop is different from a remote one. Do you know what the difference is? The warmth, the touch, the feeling of sharing the same roof with someone.

These are simple things, but we cannot forget. The planet is not digital.

So are we lost?

My initial and ironic answer is yes. But calm there traveler, not all is lost. I see we have a more interesting path to take.  

If we manage to understand that the planet is a priority in relation to our views of the world, this is already an excellent step. The worlds we create must serve the planet, and in the extreme, the species that live here. I honestly see that the discussion we have to have is: how to make the digital world we create serve the planet? In other words: how can the digital serve the species that live here?

For a very simple reason: if we only focus on our digital world, we will lose touch with the planet and in a little while, goodbye to the human species.  

Either our worldviews help us to evolve as a species and get us out of this existential limbo that we are in, or we will be another extinct species in the Earth's catalogue.

We haven't made any progress in this discussion, and time is running out.  


So here's the question: how can the digital world help you to have a happier, healthier, kinder life that guarantees that we have planet Earth for our sons, daughters, grandchildren and grandchildren?  


If we cannot, as a species, prototype a quick response to this, the planet will be more welcome to cockroaches than to our species, which will be an outmoded fixture in Earth's life.


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